Friday, March 30, 2012

Easter Egg Hunt {2012}

Yesterday was our annual East Egg Hunt at a local park with some of our homeschool friends. One-Hundred-Fifty eggs were hidden then, hunted and found in less than five minutes, on this beautiful spring day. Love these special times with our friends!!

Thursday, March 29, 2012

TOS Crew Review : I See Sam

We have been so blessed this year to be able to review several different reading/phonics curriculum. Recently, we had the opportunity to review Academic Success for All Learners "Little Books" or as we like to call them the "I See Sam" books. Developed at Utah State University and based on extensive research the "I See Sam" books are a complete reading program for students Kindergarten Level through 3rd grade.


Each level has a set of books {27 books each in the sets we received} that correspond. Ava Mae loved reading the books and I enjoyed the review lists at the beginning and end of each book. Also, I was really pleased with the incorporation of sight words into the program. {While it is great to teach phonics I feel kids really need sight words to be able to pick up a book and begin reading.}

I would suggest having your child take a placement test to see which set they should begin with. Then after having your child placed in the appropriate level I would highly recommend taking a look at the scope and sequence for the program.

One thing I found helpful was making up word cards from our sight words or words Ava Mae seemed to get mixed up constantly like "on" and "in".
The "I See Sam" books can be purchased directly from Academic Success. The sets retail for $30 each and come with everything you need to get started including an instruction guide, progress chart, and achievement certificates.

Would you like to read what my fellow crew mates thought of Academic Success for All Learners "Little Books"? Then head on over to the TOS Crew Blog.

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Disclaimer: I am reviewing this curriculum on behalf of the TOS Crew. I received no compensation, other than 2 sets of "Little Books" from Academic Success for All Learners, for the writing of this review. The contents of this review express my personal opinion of the product.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Disney 2012 : Character Dining

Character Dining is one of our fun activities while at Walt Disney World. I love it because, it means no standing in lines for a meet and greet with a character. My kids love it because, most of the time it means several different interactions with each character during our meal. The only drawback, if you have kids that are really into this type of dining experience - there may not be very much "dining" going on. Ava Mae absolutely loved being around all these different characters, so much so, she hardly ever touched her food. Now that you have been warned about the one drawback here are a few of our favorites that we did on this last trip.

Crystal Palace in Magic Kingdom has Winnie the Pooh characters. While I thought our kids had outgrown wanting this type of meet and greet - I was wrong. They even chose this over doing 1900 Park Fare at Grand Floridian which has Cinderella and Prince Charming. {We had done that on our last visit.}

Winnie the Pooh was fascinated with Lexi's "crazy" Bippity Boppity Boutique hair. Below, Winnie the Pooh being shy for the camera. We were one of the first tables seated for the evening dinner service at Crystal Palace so we saw alot of Winnie the Pooh while we dined. The dinner buffet at Crystal Palace is good - carving station and lots of fresh veggies are always on the menu.
Next up, Chip n' Dale's Harvest Feast at the Garden Grille restaurant in Epcot's Future World. This rotating restaurant features views of the Living with the Land ride and the main characters are Chip n' Dale but, you also get visits from Mickey and Pluto.

The food here was really delicious! Many of the vegetables we ate were grown in Epcot's The Land Pavilion.  The steak, chicken, and fish were out of this world! Everything was served family style so when we ran out of anything a new plate or bowl was brought out with more. Also, really liked the fact that there were kid friendly items including - grilled chicken drumsticks, mac n' cheese, and sweet potato fries. {And, doesn't Mickey Mouse look adorable in his farmer overalls.}
Our final character dining experience was the one place we visit each time we are at Walt Disney World - Chef Mickey's located in the Contemporary Hotel. We always get one of the last seatings of the morning for "brunch". Plenty of great selections on this amazing breakfast buffet - we always leave filled up!

If your kids love posing with Disney characters and getting autographs this is the way to do it!

Sunday, March 25, 2012

TOS Crew Review : Action Alert


I have a confession - I was one of those homeschooling moms, when I first started out, who could not imagine using the computer to teach my children. But, like I have learned so many times in life, never say never. This year, maybe because my children are older, I have found so many great web based programs or research sites that my children use frequently. While I would like to say that is always while I am in the room next to them monitoring everything - that is hardly ever the case. That is why I have found it so important to have a some sort of internet blocking and monitoring software on our children's computer.

Recently, we were given the opportunity to review and learn more about Action Alert software which provides everything you need to make your child's computer safe. Here are the eight internet safety tools they offer bundled in their software download:


And the best part about Action Alert, their basic protection package is completely free, how great is that?  There is also a Maximum Protection version {which is customizable, allows multiple users, and monitoring of social networks} that you can upgrade to for $29.99, though right now it is on sale for just $19.99.

Action Alert has been featured on the Today Show, won Disney's iParenting award, and is the  only internet safety solution endorsed by The Child Safety Network.

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Would you like to read what my fellow crew mates thought of Action Alert? Then head on over to the TOS Crew Blog.

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Disclaimer: I am reviewing this internet protection package on behalf of the TOS Crew. I received no compensation, other than a free download of the Maximum Protection package from Action Alert, for the writing of this review. The contents of this review express my personal opinion of the product.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

First Day of Spring {2012}

Love Spring in Atlanta ... one of the main reasons we moved out of Florida was to experience change of season and North Georgia does not disappoint!

A few snapshots from our yard {dogwood, azaleas, and weeping cherry tree all in bloom} ...

Isn't it beautiful ... doesn't it just make you so happy!

Now, take a look at this, no need to adjust your monitor - that yellow-green tint to my front porch is real.

This is the ugly side of Atlanta in the Spring. Today our pollen count was record setting over 9,000 particles. Can I just say YUCK!

The weather today is beautiful but, just a few minutes outside and you feel as though you have been coated with a layer of dust. Hoping for a good rain in the next few days to wash away this yellow tint, covering everything.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Mother Daughter Tea

Yesterday the girls and I enjoyed a wonderful afternoon tea with many of our friends from Wednesday night church. Lexi and Ava Mae are both in GA's and they hosted this event at a local tea room.
 It was a great excuse to get dressed up, where fancy hats {and gloves, if you are Ava Mae}, eat delicious finger food, and sip on some wonderful tea.
 Love the picture above and below of Ava Mae and Lexi with some of their friends.
Lexi has decided this is the place to host her 10th birthday party ... what a fun day that will be!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

TOS Crew Review : Creek Edge Press

Just love having the opportunity to review products and curriculum for The Old Schoolhouse Magazine. One of the best parts is reviewing new curriculum and finding out what a great fit it would be for our family.  Creek Edge Press was one of those opportunities!


We have been using My Father's World this year for American History and I was looking for something new for next school year that would allow us to continue our study of early American History. I love that Creek Edge Press utilizes a mixture of Charlotte Mason, Classical, and Montessori style in their task card approach to learning. As pictured above, our curriculum came with a guide which helps you get your learning environment set up for your task cards. The guide gives suggestions for reference books to have on hand and recommended reading. Each task card holds enough activities for a whole week or more of learning and I really liked the fact that the cards can be used with all ages from Kindergarten through 8th grade. Creek Edge Press provides a discovery based - research oriented approach to learning.

We jumped right in where we are in history right now - The Trail of Tears. This particular week, we read a book about the Trail and traced the Cherokee Indians journey from North Carolina and Georgia out to Oklahoma.

Looking forward to using this for our history all next year. I am taking our task cards this week to be laminated to help with their durability. I think it will be nice, once they are laminated, to use a dry erase marker on the cards to denote which activities are for which child and what has been completed.

While we will use this curriculum for our complete history next school year others may benefit from using it as a supplement.  The task cards can be ordered directly from Creek Edge Press. The set we received costs just $20. They also offer task cards for Science, Art, Geography and Culture, along with other history periods.

Would you like to read what my fellow crew mates thought of Creek Edge Press? Then head on over to the TOS Crew Blog.

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Disclaimer: I am reviewing this curriculum on behalf of the TOS Crew. I received no compensation, other than the materials above from Creek Edge Press, for the writing of this review. The contents of this review express my personal opinion of the curriculum.